Clinical trials on dogs could extend human lives

Researchers are looking for a medication to delay old age and man’s best friend might hold the key, reports Sean Smith

<p>Kaeberlein and Dobby</p>

Kaeberlein and Dobby

They've been our constant companions for thousands of years but dogs may be about to confirm their status as our best friends by helping us live longer, healthier lives. Pioneers in the new field of anti-ageing biotechnology are trying to extend the healthy lifespan of dogs as a precursor to one day doing the same for their human owners.

Celine Halioua is CEO of Loyal, the Silicon Valley veterinary medicine company trying to prove that “ageing is druggable” and that prevention is better than a cure. Halioua argues that by developing drugs to treat the array of chronic illnesses that afflict us in old age, conventional pharmaceutical companies are reduced to playing whack-a-mole. If you successfully treat one illness, another will inevitably raise its head.

Not only do the drugs have to work but they also have to reverse the damage that the diseases have already wrought. In contrast, anti-ageing researchers such as Loyal are trying to postpone that reckoning by delaying the onset of old age itself.

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